Thanks to Matt Davidson’s long ball, White Sox actually win a game at home
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Every last member of the announced crowd of 10,431 will say he or she was there to see it. That includes the 8,000 or so ticket holders who didn’t bother — on a 60 degree day, no less — to show up. Years from now, many thousands more will claim to have been on hand to witness the unimaginable feat.
Yes, we’re talking about an actual victory by the White Sox in their home ballpark.
Maybe the 2018 Sox aren’t going anywhere, but their 2-1 victory Wednesday against the Rays was no small deal. Without it, they’d have been buried under a bunch of unpleasant “firsts.”
A loss would’ve given the Sox their first winless homestand of at least six games since 1989. It would’ve meant being swept by the Rays in Chicago for the first time in a series of any length. (It was the 23rd series here between the teams.)
Worse still, a loss would’ve stuck the Sox with an 0-6 record at home for the first time in 70 years. How well did things turn out for that 1948 team? Try 51-101, the second-worst season by winning percentage (.336) in club history.
Heading into a seven-game trip to Minnesota and Oakland, another loss would’ve left a black cloud overhead. Instead, the Sox (4-7) got to bask in the sunshine after designated hitter Matt Davidson’s two-run homer to center in the eighth inning held up.
“It was huge,” manager Rick Renteria said. “We’ve been trying to get that tying or potential winning run across the plate here for quite a few days.”
It was especially big for Davidson, who had struck out looking in his previous two at-bats, stranding four runners. Davidson is making a strong effort to be more selective with his swings, which perhaps makes this a fine time for a quick review: Not chasing balls out of the zone is very good. Not clubbing balls over the heart of the plate is very bad.
Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?
“I came up in some big spots and didn’t produce,” Davidson said. “I think that kind of [was] the theme of the homestand. We got in positions to capitalize, but we just didn’t do it. So I think we’ve all been pretty frustrated. And to come up like that and win the game, it’s huge. It was kind of a frustrating homestand, but it kind of gets rid of it — move on to the next road series.”
After three consecutive one-run losses, it was nice for the Sox to turn the tables. Yet they still left a heck of a mess on the field that needs cleaning up. Example 1: Tim Anderson getting picked off first base. Example 2: Yoan Moncada failing to even attempt to bunt on a called squeeze play and getting teammate Omar Narvaez picked off third base.
“He thought he didn’t see the runner coming from third, and so he pulled [the bat] back,” Renteria said. “But, as everyone knows, everybody has an assignment and his is to complete that. If the runner from third isn’t doing what he’s supposed to do, we’ll take care of that later.”
Messiest of all for the Sox is their disastrous performance with runners in scoring position. They were 0-for-9 in such situations and are 3-for-44 (.068) in their last five games.
“There’s ups and downs, and the downs were definitely this home series,” said Davidson, whose homer off Austin Pruitt came with Jose Abreu, who singled, on first. “But we’ll move on. I’m excited to get to Minnesota and keep this thing going.”
ON DECK: SOX AT TWINS
Thursday: Lucas Giolito (0-1, 6.17) vs. Jose Berrios (1-1, 3.29), 7:10 p.m., NBCSCH, 720-AM.
Friday: Reynaldo Lopez (0-1, 0.69) vs. TBD, 7:10, NBCSCH, 720-AM.
Saturday: Miguel Gonzalez (0-2, 8.68) vs. Lance Lynn (0-1, 5.00), 1:10 p.m., Ch. 9, 720-AM.
Sunday: Carson Fulmer (0-1, 5.59) vs. Jake Odorizzi (1-0, 2.20), 1:10 p.m., NBCSCH, 720-AM.